How communication lapses can destroy the reputation of a small professional services firm

A significant portion of new business for small professional services firms comes through referrals. How many times have you as an individual consultant or professional services manager let an email sit in your inbox for a day or two, from a frustrated client? Alternatively, chose to let their phone call ring through to voicemail rather than answering? Or they gave up in a convoluted IVR system that your operations manager recommended as a 'cost savings measure'? Moreover, what is the reputational risk to your business when that disaffected client becomes a 'Detractor' on the Net Promoter Score spectrum?

The Three Most Important Questions You Need to Answer When Developing Professional Services Sales Training

Twice a year, I produce a short training module for our sales teams to learn how to sell professional services. You may think that developing this sort of training module is unnecessary at a software company, or that selling consulting services are the same as selling products and subscriptions. However, for certain businesses, there is a definite need for this kind of training. This is an easy win to improve your sales processes and reduce the potential tension between sales and consulting.

Webinar results from February sessions

This week, I held two evening webinars on managing professional services firms. We brought together consultants, directors, and vice presidents from the east and west coasts to learn about the best practices for managing a worldwide consulting firm. My personal thanks if you were able to attend. On March 2nd and 3rd, we’ll be continuing our conversation and discussing the Quote to Cash process.

Going under the couch cushions, my favorite audience question from the Vancouver IEEE Consultants Network

Last night, I gave a presentation on the quote to cash process at the IEEE Consultants Network in Vancouver, Canada. My favorite audience question was, “how would you recommend a firm start encouraging our professional services managers to look under the couch cushions?”

“Going under the couch cushions” is my semi-joking name for a strategic backlog review. I have children, and there are only two things I find under my couch cushions: spare change, and messes that need cleaning up.

In professional services, the spare change you find in the backlog comes from those customers with an odd number of hours left and an open Statement of Work

Repeat after me: setting schedule expectations with clients

Very efficient sales teams use the availability of senior consultants to drive deals to closure.   As part of the sales cycle, they ask the client the date of when the project must be finished.  You should subtract the project duration, and then another four to six weeks.   The resulting date is when the client must complete their purchase without risking their schedule.